Oakley Sutro review: cycling sunglasses for the peloton set, not the Peloton set

Oakley Sutro are big, bold and offer excellent visibility and eye protection as well as telling the world that you ride bikes

Oakley Sutro review
(Image credit: Oakley)
T3 Verdict

These in-your-face sunnies are an absolute bants-magnet, but if you're serious about your bike then ignore the catcalls of jealous civilians and revel instead in the Oakley Sutro's top protection and excellent vision.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Big but stylish

  • +

    Great lens

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Probably not for your more casual cyclist

Here’s the Oakley Sutro review at time trial sprint pace: if you’re serious about cycling, these Tour de France-worthy specs are just the ticket. Oakley’s large-framed Sutro is something of a classic design in the cycling world. It comes in a range of styles, with some lenses being more suited to cycling than others, and works well both on and off the bike, provided you don’t mind your shades announcing to everyone: “I ride bikes”.

If you can live with such flagrantly ostentatious sunnies and want some of the best cycling sunglasses in terms of visibility and protection, here's what you need to know.

Oakley Sutro review: price and availability

If you're in the UK you can find your choice of Sutro at the Oakley store for £135. However! Head instead to Pret a Voir and you can get a pair of Sutro Prizm Tour de France editions for just £78. In the USA, make for Sunglass Hut where you can pick up a pair in black and green for $173, and if you're in a land down under then Just Sunnies can sort you out for AUS$194.40.

Oakley Sutro review: design

Oakley was the first on the scene when it comes to big, bold cycling shades. It was supplying this kind of cutting-edge eyewear to Tour de France legend Greg LeMond 30-odd years ago. Now that style is back, and nowhere better represented than in the Sutro.

Oakley Sutro review

(Image credit: Oakley)

Things have moved on from the eighties, of course, with lighter frames and better lenses; the Sutro’s lens and frame have gone through extreme testing to ensure they’re as bombproof as a pair of sunglasses can be, whilst a rubber nose piece helps ensure a reasonably secure fit and a metal strengthening bar above this provides additional rigidity to the frame.

Oakley Sutro review: features

The Sutro comes in a variety of lens and frame combinations – 16 in total – but the model we tested was cycling specific and as such came with a Prizm Road lens with a base colour of Rose. In technical terms this provides increased contrast, 20 per cent light transmission and works best in ‘medium light’ (whatever that might be). The frame is nice and light and obviously since the one-piece lens is so large the frame has to be too.

Oakley Sutro review

(Image credit: Oakley)

The glasses come with a specially-woven electrostatic ‘Microclear’ bag for cleaning and storage, whilst you can get a replacement lens for the Sutro from Oakley for £60 should you need it, and a lens cleaning kit is available for £10.

The current trend for big sunglasses for cycling is very much a love/hate thing, although you may find yourself stuck in the middle – big shades definitely have their place when you’re riding a bike, but you may not feel they’re what you want when sitting outside the pub or on the beach; but do you really want to have to shell out for a pair of sunnies specifically for cycling and another pair for rejoining the ranks of Joe Public?

Oakley Sutro review: performance

The large size of the Sutro is actually very reassuring when you’re riding your bike as it ensures good protection for an area of your face that extends way beyond your eyes and also makes it very difficult for extraneous light to get in at the sides, top or bottom and potentially cause distraction, whilst the same also applies to dust and dirt.

Oakley Sutro review

(Image credit: Oakley)

In addition, the big frames allow for excellent peripheral vision, and – well, let’s face it, they do look pretty cool. The overall fit is quite secure although it could be improved by the addition of rubber grippers on the inside of the arm and an adjustable rubber nose piece – in fact it’s surprising that the Sutro doesn’t feature these as standard given the price tag.

Oakley Sutro review: verdict

The Sutro has a style that is both classic and modern so will appeal to a wide range of cyclists, though it would be nice to see adjustable frames and nose piece as standard, so you can ensure a really secure fit. You can expect some ‘banter’ if you wear them down the pub, but ignore the haters. Oakley Sutro provides excellent clarity, very good eye protection and on you, they probably look great.

Alf Alderson
Alf Alderson

Alf Alderson is an adventure travel writer and outdoor gear reviewer who splits his time between the Pembrokeshire coast and the French Alps, where he is an 'ambassador' for the ski resort of Les Arcs.